[Newbies] Totally dumbfounded!!

Claus Kick claus_kick at web.de
Sat Jul 5 10:57:22 UTC 2008


> It seems to me though that even though in smalltalk/squeak it is  
> possible to read all the code in the system, it is still a very poor  
> and inefficient way of learning about any of the class libraries in  
> Smalltalk. After looking up some of the code, I find I end up more  
> confused than when I started.

It depends. One way to look at it is to see that looking at the code 
helps you not to be confused my faulty or missing documentation.
Also, do not mix up Squeak with Smalltalk. There are other Smalltalk 
dialects which are much better documented.

> SBE has a few pages on Morphic but the class library for smalltalk  
> seems huge for a beginner like me. 

I think the GUI part of Squeak is not documented very well, period.

>For example, after trying to look  at 
> the Graphics classes, there may be many ways to instantiate an  object 
> (I might be wrong, in that case I take back everything I have  to say on 
> the subject!!). 

There probably are.

>No one really has the time to go through  every method 
> to find out which is suitable and even then the  commentary is not 
> always very good. 

What else can you do? Even for Java, you have to go through all the 
Javadocs, first to find which Class suits your needs and then which 
method is the correct one to use.
Basically, there should be a useful class comment for every class which 
explains how to use what class for what.

>Some of the methods do not appear  to do anything 
> useful (if I may say so) because they depend on the  support provided by 
> a whole series of other methods (and even classes)  and states of 
> variables. 

How is that not useful? If everything is an object and everything is 
done via messages, then everything has to happen in methods.
Perhaps you have not completely digested this fact.

I think what is missing in Squeak is the old public/private view that 
Envy allowed: It did not hinder a programmer from using a private 
method, but at least it showed which ones you should use, the public ones.

>In the end I might still not have learnt how  the whole thing 
> works! So my question is, is there any documentation  on the complete 
> class library for Squeak written in a more accessible  style for the 
> uninitiated?

Very likely, not.

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